The Parliamentary committee on Environment and Natural Resources has started scrutinizing the Mining and Minerals Bill, 2021, that among others seeks to introduce licenses for exploration of building substances such as sand, murram, clay and others.
The Mining and Minerals Bill, 202 that was read for the first time on 18, November, 2021 seeks to repeal the Mining Act, 2003 to strengthen institutional structures for effective management of mineral subsector, promote transparency of mining operations and create an enabling environment for attracting investments among others.
While presenting the Bill before the Natural resources committee, the Minister of State for Minerals, said that the new bill will ensure protection of mineral resources and the environment and ensure that revenues generated from the mining sector are managed in a fair and transparent manner in support of Uganda’s sustainable development.
The Bill under clause 27 seeks to introduce the acquisition of licenses for building substances such as sand, murram, aggregate and clay etc, exploited for commercial purposes. Under Article 244 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, but Parliament has the mandate to regulate the exploitation of such substances.
According to Minister Lokeris, whereas building substances are not regarded as minerals in accordance with the Constitution, the new Bill will now require a person seeking to explore or mine or dispose of any building substance for commercial purposes to acquire a quarry license. The Minister said that the proposal has been approved by cabinet.
"Where these buidling substances are exploited for individual use then you do not need to pay anything, but if a person is exploiting sand on a large scale then it should be taxed because he is selling it to others," Lokeris said.
The Bill among others seeks to introduce the production sharing agreement system, set up a National Mining Company to handle the State's commercial interests in the mining subsector and establish the Mineral Protection Force within the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) to protect minerals against malpractices and enforce compliance.